Earl W. Bennett Cottage by Alden B. Dow

Earl W. Bennett, the father of Vada Bennett Dow, was known as the “financial wizard” of the Dow Chemical Company.  He joined the then three-year old company in 1900 as one of 33 employees and a short time later became its official bookkeeper and then auditor.  As the company grew, he went on to serve as a vice president, director, treasurer and board chairman, a position he held for 20 years until retiring as a member of the board in 1969 at the age of 89.

In May of 1936, while Mr. Bennett was company treasurer, Alden B. Dow began the drawings for a cottage on a lake in Roscommon County, Michigan, for his father-in-law.  The construction contract was awarded to R.A. Malchie for the sum of $6,800 for “everything to make the cottage complete and ready for occupancy less plumbing electric wiring, and heating equipment.”  Construction began on May 18 and was substantially completed by August 18, 1936.

The cottage stands out from its natural surroundings with its angled rooflines and plain cinder block walls.  Under the sloped roof are tall narrow windows topped with smaller triangle shaped windows that open.  On the more private side of the cottage are continuous bands of windows on the upper and lower levels separated by a stucco spandrel.  A triple-stack chimney rises well above the single roof.

On the entry or main level are the dining room, kitchen and, in a separate wing, two bedrooms.  The living room is on the second floor and features a balcony overlooking the dining room and hearth below; two more bedrooms are also on this level.  Walls are either unfinished cinder block or plaster, while floors are yellow pine with redwood used for trim.

Mr. Dow designed several additions to the cottage over the years, including a foot bridge in 1938, a water wheel, a snack bar in 1950, bedroom addition in 1966, and significant alterations and upgrades in 1969.

Did you know?  Appointments are welcome to view or study any of the Archives materials featured in this post and can be arranged by contacting us at archives@abdow.org.

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